Watkins Glen -- A welcome sight for defending champion Gordon. WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - It's been 4,069 left turns since NASCAR's all-time road course winner last made a right in Sonoma, and Jeff Gordon is ready to make some right turns this weekend...
Watkins Glen -- A welcome sight for defending champion Gordon.
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - It's been 4,069 left turns since NASCAR's all-time road course winner last made a right in Sonoma, and Jeff Gordon is ready to make some right turns this weekend in the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen at Watkins Glen International.
In nine career races at the twisting 2.45-mile road course, Gordon has four wins, a NASCAR Winston Cup record at Watkins Glen, and six top-five finishes. He won this event last season to notch his seventh career road course victory, breaking the record for all-time road course wins.
"I enjoy the road course races and I've had a lot of success here," said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. "Jeff (Burton) and I had a great duel at the end of last year's race and it was a lot of fun because he races clean.
"But it was tough and I was wore out at the end of the race. I think the road courses are some of the toughest races because we are constantly shifting and turning with very few caution laps to rest.
"If it's hot like Indianapolis was last week, we'll have to be on top of our game mentally and physically."
After finishing sixth last weekend in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Gordon picked up 63 points to close to within 125 of leader Sterling Marlin in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. He trails third place Mark Martin by just 16 and second place Jimmie Johnson by 32.
Gordon would also like to win this event to continue his five-year streak of winning at least one of the two road course events on the Winston Cup schedule. In 1998 and 1999 he swept both road course races and quickly became known as "King of the Road."
"We want to win every race," said Gordon. "But this team has a little more pride when it comes to road courses and we expect to win each time out."
Gordon came close to extending the streak at Infineon Raceway (formerly Sears Point Raceway) in June. He appeared to have the dominant car and was leading the race when the rear-end gear broke and forced the team behind the wall for repairs. He finished 37th, his worst of the 2002 season.
"Sitting in that race car while the team was making repairs was a tough pill to swallow," Gordon said. "It just seems like that's the way our season has gone. This team still has a lot of fight left in them and hopefully we've put all that bad luck behind us."